I saw a meme the other day showing two images, both saying “I will always find you”. One was in a curvy typeface with hearts as the dots on the letter “i”. The other was a scratchy typeface that looked like it had been carved into something. The subline was “Fonts matter.”
The message couldn’t have been clearer. While one of the images gave the warm, fuzzy feeling of a mom telling her four-year-old that she loved him no matter what; the other image felt like a threat. The only difference was the typeface chosen.
I run across people all the time that scratch their heads at the investment that companies make in design, into font choices, into brand colors, into style guides spelling out all these choices. I hear, “does it really matter?” I hear, “but doing the same thing is so boring!” I hear, “oh, I had Joe do my website and Sally did my business cards and Fred from the magazine did that ad.” I hear, “we don’t want to limit our team by giving them templates.”
Yes visuals do matter.
When we hear, “tell your company’s story,” we often focus on the actual story, the words. The message each word conveys and how the words are woven into the fabric that make up your company’s journey and personality are extraordinarily important. As humans, we connect by stories.
Stories paired with visual input are inherently intertwined in how we see the world, however. Barring major vision impairment, we are visual people. We rely heavily on our visual sense to take in and process what is around us. When we hear a story, we imagine it. We see a photo and we instantly assign a story to the image, even if we’re not consciously aware we are doing so.
Story and visuals are so interrelated that we talk about first impressions. We meet someone and we instantly build a story about them based on our limited interactions with them. Psychology calls this thin-slicing – to draw conclusions about emotions and attitudes about a person after a limited interaction. We build this story off visual clues – their body language, their clothing, their facial expressions, etc.
We build stories about a person based on first impressions.
Unless your company is built on serving robot overlords who see the world as ones and zeros, yes, visuals do matter. Choosing all aspects of a visual identity to support and emphasize your company story go a long way towards helping your audience take in and digest that story. If the story and the visual don’t align, then the opposite happens, we leave our audience confused. A confused audience does not turn into customers.
And those visuals matter across the board – they matter on the web, in social media, on business cards, in marketing collateral, at a tradeshow, and on a shirt. And everywhere in between. If your company works hard to build a visual story to align with your message, but then says, “meh… social media is so fast and only has a 30 second impact, let’s not spend time or money on visuals for social,” you end up leaving your audience confused. They see a post on social, click on it, and arrive at your website, but the visuals are completely different, your audience is left disconcerted. That bit of unease they feel now has to be overcome by the brand. It sets the slope of the hill steeper in turning them into a customer.
Tell your company story, tell it with complementary visuals, and set your customer’s mind at ease, lowering the uphill angle of the slope to purchase by telling and showing that story consistently.
If you’re interested in telling your brand story in a visual way, reach out to our team. We would love to chat!